In Virginia Courts, what devices can the Police or a Prosecutor use to prove the speed of a car for Reckless Driving?
Dave Albo Attorney is a Fairfax Virginia reckless driving lawyer who is ready to represent you when you have been charged with reckless driving. In Virginia, if you are traveling at greater than 19 mph over the speed limit, OR you are going over 80 mph, you can be charged with a Class 1 Misdemeanor crime of Reckless Driving by Speed (VA Code §46.2-862). This article discusses what Police and/or Prosecutors will have to prove in order to convict you. If you hire an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer in Fairfax Virginia, then your lawyer will know how to fight this. If you are going in on your own and want to take on the Prosecutor yourself, here are some tips based upon my 30+ years of defending people charged with Reckless Driving by Speed in Northern Virginia Courts.
Reckless by Speed is a “per se” offense. This means that there is no intent involved. You were either going greater than 19 mph over the limit or in excess of 80 mph, or you were not. Excuses like, “I did not know I was going that fast,” or “I was just keeping up with traffic…” do not work in cases like this. (This is why many people don’t move forward with these cases on their own and instead, hire a Reckless Driving Lawyer based in Fairfax Virginia.).
Remember that a Prosecutor must prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. Since there is just one element in Reckless Driving by Speed, all the Prosecutor has to prove is your speed. The Virginia Code gives the Prosecutor three easy ways (using a device, which is the subject of this article) and one hard way (a pace of your vehicle which is subject of another article). The Virginia Code section 46.2-882 says that if the Police use three types of devices to detect speed (laser, radar or microcomputer) the reading on that machine will prove the speed as long as the device has been properly certified and calibrated. Our reckless driving attorney in Virginia wants you to know of an important component to 46.2-882:
In any court or legal proceeding in which any question arises about the calibration or accuracy of any laser speed determination device, radar, or microcomputer device as described in this section used to determine the speed of any motor vehicle, a certificate, or a true copy thereof, showing the calibration or accuracy of (i) the speedometer of any vehicle, (ii) any tuning fork employed in calibrating or testing the radar or other speed determination device or (iii) any other method employed in calibrating or testing any laser speed determination device, and when and by whom the calibration was made, shall be admissible as evidence of the facts therein stated. No calibration or testing of such device shall be valid for longer than six months.
Here is a tip that an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer representing Fairfax Virginia will know: The device used must be on a list approved by the Division of Purchases and Supply and that Police Chiefs and/or Sheriffs have to determine that the devices selected meet or exceed the standards set by the Division of Purchases and Supply.
The Division of Purchases and Supply, pursuant to § 2.2-1112, shall determine the proper equipment used to determine the speed of motor vehicles and shall advise the respective law-enforcement officials of the same. Police chiefs and sheriffs shall ensure that all such equipment and devices purchased on or after July 1, 1986, meet or exceed the standards established by the Division.
Thus, if you are trying the case, or if you hire an experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer in Fairfax Virginia, make the Prosecutor prove these extra requirements set forth in the Virginia Code.
A Judge should require the Prosecutor to present information that the machine used was determined to be “proper equipment” by the Division of Purchases and Supply, AND that the device was determined to meet the standards by the Chief of Police or the Sheriff. Just repeat the words of 46.2-882.
One other tip provided by our Virginia reckless driving lawyer is this: While you are not required to prove anything, you may want to get a copy of the regulations on what devices are approved by the Division of Purchases and Supply, and find a copy of the determination by the Chief of Police and/or Sheriff. If the machine presented at trial is not on this list, then the reading of that machine should be ruled inadmissible. As such, you or your experienced Reckless Driving Lawyer in Fairfax Virginia should make a motion to suppress this reading and throw out the certificate. Contact Dave Albo – Attorney for more information.
Steps to Take When You Have Been Charged with Reckless Driving
Whether you were passing illegally, driving too fast or engaged in some other driving activity that constitutes reckless driving, it may be a good idea to receive counsel from a Virginia area reckless driving attorney. Although this type of charge may not seem serious, if convicted the consequences can surely have an impact on your life. While many believe these acts may only be minor infractions, you risk loss of license, fines, and even jail time. Because of this, it’s important that you give yourself every opportunity at obtaining the best outcome possible with Dave Albo Attorney, a Virginia based reckless driving attorney. Here are some recommended steps to take if you have been charged with reckless driving:
Step One: Write Down Your Account
Memories can fade and become foggy over time. Following your traffic stop, one of the first things you should do is write down your own account of what happened. Write down the events leading up to the traffic stop and the actions that took place once you were pulled over by law enforcement. Capturing as much detail as possible will be critical for your Virginia reckless driving attorney, especially when it comes to representing you in court.
Step Two: Gather Evidence
Evidence can play an essential role when crafting your defense. Additionally, strong evidence may have the ability to have charges reduced, or even dismissed. Evidence that may assist in your case may include:
- Your Driving Record
- Evidence from You GPS
- Speedometer Calibration
- Medical Records
- Testimony of Witnesses
Proper evidence can prove essential to your case, especially for your Virginia reckless driving attorney as they build a defense for your case and represent you in court.
Step Three: Contact a Virginia Reckless Driving Attorney
While it can be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you may need to contact an attorney, doing so can help you to put your best foot forward should you find yourself facing a reckless driving charge. The penalties if convicted can be significant. Although an experienced and sought after reckless driving attorney in Virginia can come at some expense to you, the benefits far outweigh the cost. This is especially true when considering how costly a reckless driving conviction can be for you. When taking into account fines, rising insurance rates, court costs, license reinstatement fees and the impact a conviction can have on procuring employment; the cost of representing yourself can be far more expensive than you initially may have thought. Working with a Virginia reckless driving attorney gives you the benefit of a legal professional who understands the inner workings of the criminal justice system, and the courtroom. Without an attorney, the legal process can be incredibly complicated and confusing, which can be a huge disadvantage to you. Give yourself the opportunity at reaching a resolution to your case that is favorable to you with Dave Albo Attorney, a reckless driving Virginia attorney who can help you.
If you have been charged with reckless driving, it’s best to reach out to a Virginia reckless driving attorney for help. A reckless driving conviction will remain on your record for 11 years, which may make it difficult to obtain employment. Contact Dave Albo Attorney, a reckless driving attorney in Virginia who can work closely with you to prepare the best defense possible.